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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Thursday, February 29, 2024

Letter from the Editors: Announcing the inaugural Tufts Daily Diversity & Inclusion Report

Daily-Header
Views from The President's Lawn on May 11, 2014.

The Diversity & Inclusion Report embedded below represents The Tufts Daily’s first comprehensive effort to gather insights into the composition of our staff and their experiences in our organization. The report was compiled by a group of the Daily’s current and former student leaders under the purview of the paper’s Intentionality & Inclusivity Committee

The Daily aims to grow and improve as an organization both internally and in our coverage. To this end, the Diversity & Inclusion Report Committee, formed in the summer of 2021, has compiled this report to offer transparency into our newsroom, identify future avenues within which we should work to better inform our coverage, and assess how to make our organization more inclusive and representative of the communities we serve. 

The Daily’s reporting is guided by our commitment to accuracy and inclusivity. This initiative reflects a broader mission among media organizations to improve transparency concerning the demographic makeup of their newsrooms. Other university newspapers have published similar reports, which we have referenced to inform the writing of the Daily’s survey. These reports include those of the student papers at Princeton, Harvard, Northwestern and Stanford, among others. 

The data in this report was collected in November 2021 via a staff survey and thus represents the composition of the Daily’s staff at that point. It does not represent spring and fall 2022 recruitment cycles, nor any staff turnover during that time period. 

Overall, our survey indicates that the Daily is less diverse than the Tufts community, especially with regard to race, ethnicity and household income. A majority of survey respondents identify as white, for example, which was inconsistent at the time with the composition of the undergraduate student body at Tufts. Only 20% of respondents said they received financial aid, more than 20 percentage points lower than the same statistic for the undergraduate student body as a whole. 

Survey results also raised concerns about inclusivity in the Daily. For example, 17% of respondents reported experiencing an incident of bias while working for the paper. This indicates a significant need to reevaluate internal practices and create more inclusive workspaces that combat discrimination and reduce harm. 

To collect data, we released a Qualtrics survey that remained open for about three weeks in November 2021. We circulated this survey in staff newsletters and staff-wide Slack channels and also asked that executive board members complete it during a meeting. In total, 131 members of the Daily responded to at least one question in the survey. At least 107 members responded to each question. 

About one-third of respondents had served at least one semester on the Daily’s executive or managing boards, which together comprise about 30 people each semester. While our leadership boards turn over twice a year — allowing members to cycle through masthead and elected positions rather quickly — we estimate that members of Daily leadership are slightly overrepresented in this report. 

The Daily staff numbers around 200, but we do not have organization-wide data available and cannot determine whether the sample of respondents is representative of the paper as a whole. Additionally, as this survey was optional for staff members, it is prone to self-selection bias — those who chose to participate may not accurately represent the whole of the Daily’s demographics. Nevertheless, this data offers useful insights into our organization’s past and underscores key issues to focus on in the future.

After sharing the data with Daily staff in May 2022, the committee collected feedback and reconvened to generate a list of actionable steps management can take to build inclusion at the Daily and support a staff that better represents the diversity of the Tufts community. Some of these recommendations have already been implemented: this semester, for instance, saw the formation of several student media affinity groups, sponsored by the Daily and open to all members of the Tufts community, as well as an effort to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of organization-wide events. 

Still, this report is a work in progress — a starting point intended to initiate conversation. Using this report as a framework for the future, we plan to continue this initiative on a yearly basis to track organizational change over time.

In the meantime, we continue to seek feedback and community input to make tangible changes that promote a more diverse and inclusive newsroom, and to improve our journalistic practices and holistic coverage of the Tufts community. 

We encourage you to provide feedback and ideas via this anonymous Google form. The committee can also be reached via email at diversity@tuftsdaily.com.

Diversity & Inclusion Report Committee

Ethan Steinberg, Brendan Hartnett, Priya Padhye, Colton Wolk, Liz Shelbred, Odessa Gaines, Avery Hanna, Ty Blitstein, Abi Vixama, Chloe Courtney Bohl